4th Grade NYS and Slavery Inquiry: How did New Yorkers challenge slavery?

April Francis

Editor’s Note: This is the third day of a multi-day lesson in a three-lesson sequence designed for fourth grade on slavery and New York developed by April Francis for the Putnam | Northern Westchester BOCES Integrated Social Studies/ELA
Curriculum.

Aim: How did New Yorkers challenge slavery? NYS Social Studies Framework: 4.5a: There were slaves in New York State. People worked to fight against slavery and for change; Students will investigate people who took action to abolish slavery, including Samuel Cornish, Frederick Douglass, William Lloyd Garrison, and Harriet Tubman.

Social Studies Practices: Gathering, Interpreting, and Using Evidence; Comparison and Contextualization; Geographic Reasoning; Economics and Economic Systems; Civic Participation

Next Gen. ELA Standards:
o 4R6: In informational texts, compare and contrast a primary and secondary source on the same event or topic. (RI);
o 4R8: Explain how claims in a text are supported by relevant reasons and evidence.
(RI&RL)
o 4W5: Draw evidence from literary or informational texts to respond and support
analysis, reflection, and research by applying grade 4 reading standards.
o 4SL4: Report on a topic or text, tell a story, or recount an experience with appropriate facts and relevant, descriptive details, speaking clearly at an understandable pace and volume appropriate for audience.

Learning Objectives: Identify Harriet Tubman, William Lloyd Garrison, Frederick Douglass, The Jerry Rescue, African Free School, and the AntiSlavery Society. Define resist and resistance.

Analyze the Underground Railroad system.
Decipher and understand various primary and secondary sources. Develop individual and group presentation skills. Evaluate which form of resistance was most successful in ending slavery in NYS.

Materials:
Video: Harriet Tubman (4:48 minutes) https://www.youtube.com/watchv=Dv7YhVKFqbQ&feature=youtu.be
o Source 1. Harriet Tubman biography
o Source 2. NYS Map of the Underground Railroad
o Source 3a & 3b. African Free School
o Source 4. Frederick Douglass & The North Star
o Source 5. Anti-Slavery Society
o Source 6. The “Jerry Rescue” Syracuse, NY

Additional Activities:
http://www.nygeo.org/ugrrlessons.html (NYS Underground RR Regional Geography Lesson)
Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YWVr57o_ElU
(animated video about Harriet Tubman’s life, 25 minutes)

Formative Task: Students will serve experts on one form of resistance used against slavery and present it as a group to the whole class.

Lesson Narrative & Procedure: In this lesson, students will be introduced to the term “resistance” and analyze various methods New Yorkers used to fight against the system of slavery. Students will be introduced to famous abolitionists such as Harriet
Tubman, Frederick Douglass, and William Lloyd Garrison. Through video analysis, students will understand how the secret Underground Railroad system was used to help enslaved people escape to freedom. To synthesize their learning, students will
be asked to summarize the methods some New Yorkers used to resist the slave system.

Preparation for Day 1: Make copies of “Source 1: Harriet Tubman biography” and the “Circle Map” worksheet. Queue video: Harriet Tubman (4:48 minutes)

Day 1 Engage (10 minutes): The teacher should introduce the supporting question “How did some New Yorkers resist the slavery system?” by having a student read it aloud to the class. The teacher should ask students if they know what the term “resist” means. After students respond, the teacher should give an example of “resisting” and then share a definition of the term. Once students have a
foundation of the term “resist” the teacher should ask students, “Based on what we have learned, why do you think some New Yorkers would want to resist the slave system?” Students should respond with examples from the previous lessons.

Explore (20 minutes): The teacher should distribute Source 1: Harriet Tubman Biography.
Ask students what they know about Harriet Tubman. Students will share various answers. After students respond, the teacher can share they will participate in the read aloud. During the read aloud, students can annotate the reading. Additionally, the teacher can choose to play the animated video Harriet Tubman as a support to the reading (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YWVr57o_ElU ).

Once students have finished the reading (and/or video), students share main ideas on their circle map, that answer the questions:
a. How did Harriet Tubman resist the slave system?
b. How did she help others?

Ask, “What can this biography inform us about Harriet Tubman’s character? Do you know of anyone today that would be similar to Harriet Tubman in character?

Explain (10 minutes): After discussing Harriet Tubman, the teacher can ask students, “Based on your own knowledge and our reading today, what do you know about the Underground Railroad?”
Students can share various answers. The teacher can then state, “New York State played a vital role in the Underground Railroad. Let’s investigate how the Underground Railroad worked in helping people resist the slave system.”


Elaborate (15 minutes): The teacher will have students work in pairs on the “Underground Railroad” packet. The student worksheet is located on the last page of the packet.
Once students have completed the packet, the teacher can participate in a whole class review. The teacher should ensure to ask follow-up or clarifying questions when needed based on student responses.

Evaluate (10 minutes)

  1. After review, the teacher should distribute the Exit Ticket- Day 1 to each student, asking them to respond to the question prompt: Do you think you would have been able to escape using the Underground Railroad? Explain.
    a. An alternative activity to the “exit ticket” is
    creating a Padlet board online for student responses.

    Day 2 Preparation: Print Sources 2-6 and create “Stations” for student groups. Make copies of the “Resisting Slavery” Graphic Organizer Chart.

Engage (15 minutes): The teacher should reintroduce the supporting question “How did some New Yorkers resist the slavery system?” and have students complete a brainstorm of their understanding of yesterday’s lesson using the “3-2-1” method:
a) 3 things they learned from yesterday’s lesson.
b) 2 things they found interesting.
c) 1 question they still have?

After reviewing using the 3-2-1 method, the teacher can have students analyze Sources 2-6, in a group format.

The teacher can state:
a. “Today we are going to analyze other ways people in New York resisted the slave system in the 1800s. We will be working in cooperative teams, using your “Resistance of Slavery in New York” chart to record your findings. Each team will be assigned one document to analyze, and then they will report on this document to the class.

i. Station 1. Source 2. NYS Map of UGRR (printed in color or viewed on a smartboard)

ii. Station 2. Source 3a & 3b. African Free School

iii. Station 3. Source 4. Frederick Douglass & The North Star

iv. Station 4. Source 5a & 5b. Anti-Slavery Society

v. Station 5. Source 6. The “Jerry Rescue” Syracuse, NY

Note: Teachers should use their knowledge of their students and assign the documents based on student levels. Documents can also be modified to meet
specific needs of individual classrooms.

Explore & Explain (15 minutes). Students should analyze the document they were assigned for their group. As a group, they should fill out their portion of the Graphic Organizer – Resisting Slavery and then decide how they will present this information
to the rest of the class.

Elaborate (15 minutes). After student analysis, each team should share their “expert” knowledge of the source they were assigned in a presentation format. Students can use the Source Analysis Guide-Historical Thinking Chart adapted from the Stanford Historical Education Group (SHEG) to help develop their presentation. For each group presentation, the teacher should project the source onto the Smartboard so it is visible for all students. While one group is sharing, all members should be recording key points onto their individual “Resisting Slavery” graphic organizers.

Evaluate (10 minutes). After group presentations, the teacher can distribute the Exit Ticket- Day 2 and state, “Slavery was finally banned in New York State in 1827, ‘Which method of resistance do you think was most successful in ending slavery in New York State? Why?’”

Source 1. Harriet Tubman (1820-1913) [http://www.harriet-tubman.org/house/]

Harriet Tubman’s home in Auburn, NY
Portrait of Harriet Tubman

Background:
(A) Harriet Tubman was born a slave. Her parents named her Araminta “Minty” Ross. She changed her name in 1849 when she escaped. She adopted the name Harriet after her mother and the last name Tubman after her husband. Tubman
suffered a head injury as a teenager which gave her…sleeping spells. She was deeply religious and according to her it was her religious beliefs that gave her courage rescue friends and family over and over again. She remained illiterate [unable to read or write] for her entire life.

(B) Harriet Tubman was the most famous conductor of the Underground Railroad. In a decade she guided over 300 slaves to freedom; abolitionist William Lloyd Garrison thought she deserved the nickname “Moses”. She worked hard to save money to return and save more slaves. In time she built a reputation and many Underground Railroad supporters provided her with funds and shelter to support her trips.

(C) During the Civil War, Tubman served as a nurse, cook, laundress, spy and scout. After the Emancipation Proclamation she returned to Auburn where she lived the rest of her life. She opened her doors to those in need. With donations and the money from her vegetable garden she was able to support herself and those she helped. She raised money to open schools for African Americans and gave speeches on Women’s rights. Her dream was to build a home for the elderly and in 1908 the Harriet Tubman Home for the Elderly was created.

Source 2. Underground Railroad Routes in New York State
The Underground Railroad was a connection of people helping enslaved people escape from slavery in the early and mid19th century. It included free blacks, whites, church people, and abolitionists. Enslaved Africans traveled to freedom by any means available, using homes as stops, songs, and secret codes. This map shows escape routes used by runaways when traveling through New York State.

Map Key: Blue Line- Hudson/Mohawk Route
Green Line- Susquehanna/ Finger Lakes Route
Red Line- Lake Erie/Niagara Route
Purple Line- Hudson/ Champlain Route
Source: Timothy McDonnell www.nygeo.org

Source 3a. New York African Free School
Right after the American Revolution, the New York Manumission Society was created. It worked to end the slave trade around the world and to achieve the abolition of slavery in the new county. It established the African Free School in
New York City, the first education organization for Black Americans in North America. It served both free blacks and the children of enslaved
people.


Source 3b. African Free School Student Award for Edward T. Haines
Source: https://www.nyhistory.org/web/africanfreeschool
Edward T. Haines proudly displays his handwriting skill and his title as assistant
monitor general, a position that carried significant responsibilities. The 1820 U.S.
census lists an African American ‘Hains’ family with a boy Edward’s age living in
New York City’s Fifth Ward, a west-side neighborhood south of Canal Street that was
the home of many free people of color in New York City.

Edward Haines Handwriting Skill

Source 4. Frederick Douglass & The North Star Publication
Source: https://www.smithsonianmag.com/history/frederick-douglass

Frederick Douglass (1818-1895) was an American orator, editor, author, abolitionist and escaped slave.
The most famous black abolitionist was Frederick Douglass, an escaped slave. He used his skills to speak in the northern
states against slavery. He also helped slaves escape to the North while working with the Underground Railroad. He established the abolitionist paper The North Star on December 3, 1847, in Rochester, NY.

Source 5a – Anti-Slavery Society
William Lloyd Garrison was born December 10, 1805 in Newburyport, Massachusetts. In 1830 he started an abolitionist paper, The Liberator. In 1832 he helped form the New England Anti-Slavery Society When the Civil War broke out, he continued to speak against the Constitution as a pro-slavery document. When the
civil war ended, he at last saw the abolition of slavery. He died May 24, 1879 in New York City. Source: www.biography.com

Source 5b – Anti-Slavery Society
Gerrit Smith founded the New York State Anti-slavery Society in Peterboro, New York in 1835.

Source 6. “The Jerry Rescue” Central New York 1851
Source: https://freethought-trail.org/trail-map/location:jerry- rescue-monument/

This monument, added to Clinton Square, Syracuse, NY in 2001, celebrates the October 1, 1851, rescue of William “Jerry” Henry, an escaped slave from Missouri. Henry had been arrested in Syracuse and since he was an escaped slave; law officers were eager to follow the Fugitive Slave Act and wanted to return him to Missouri. The Fugitive Slave Act was a United States law that said runaways, even in free states, had to be returned to their masters. Henry was arrested the same day an abolitionist meeting was taking place in the city. A large group of fifty-two men stormed a police station, pounded on down its doors, and rescued “Jerry” Henry. Within a few days, “Jerry” escaped to freedom in Kingston, Ontario. The “Jerry Rescue” itself was organized by area abolitionist leaders.

How did some New Yorkers resist the slave system?
Directions: Use this chart to organize your information for each document.

The Underground Railroad was a network of secret routes and safe houses established in the United States during the early to mid-19th century and used by African American enslaved people to escape into free states, Canada and
Nova Scotia with the aid of abolitionists and allies who were sympathetic to their cause. It is believed that around 100,000 runaways between 1810 and 1860 escaped using the network. The majority of the runaways came from the upper south states that bordered free states such as Kentucky, Virginia, and Maryland.

The Underground Railroad was not located underground, and it was not a railroad. It was symbolically underground as the network’s activities were secret and illegal, so they had to remain “underground” to help fugitive slaves stay out of sight.
The term “railroad” was used because the railroad was a system of transportation and its supporters used railroad code to communicate in secret language. Runaways used songs called spirituals to communicate with each other. Homes where fugitives (runaways) would stay and eat were called “stations” or “depots” the owner of the house was the “station master” and the “conductor” was the person responsible to move slaves from station to station. Those financing the Underground Railroad by donating money, food, and clothing were called “stockholders”.

Stephen and Harriet Myers House, Albany, NY
Elias Hicks, UGRR Station Master in Jericho

Codes and Songs of the Underground Railroad
Supporters of the Underground Railroad used words railroad conductors employed every day to create their own code as secret language in order to help slaves escape. Below are a sample of some of the words used:

Songs were used in everyday life by enslaved African Americans. Singing was a tradition brought from Africa by the first enslaved people; sometimes their songs are called spirituals. Singing served many purposes such as providing a rhythm for manual work, inspiration and motivation. Singing was also used to express their values and solidarity with each other and during celebrations. Songs were used as tools to remember and communicate since the majority of enslaved African Americans could not read.
Harriet Tubman and others used songs as a strategy to communicate their struggle for freedom. Coded songs contained words giving directions on how to escape also known as signal songs or where to meet known as map songs.

Source: http://www.harriet-tubman.org/songs-of-the-underground-railroad/
“Follow the Drinking Gourd” Source: https://www.nps.gov/articles/drinkinggourd.htm
Listen here: http://pathways.thinkport.org/secrets/gourd2.cfm

When the Sun comes back And the first quail calls Follow the Drinking Gourd.
For the old man is a-waiting for to carry you to freedom if you follow the Drinking Gourd.
The riverbank makes a very good road. The dead trees will show you the way.
Left foot, peg foot, traveling on, Follow the Drinking Gourd.
The river ends between two hills Follow the Drinking Gourd.
For the old man is a-waiting for to carry you to freedom if you follow the Drinking Gourd.

This song suggests escaping in the spring as the days get longer. The drinking gourd is a water dipper which is a code name for the constellation Big Dipper which points to the Pole Star towards the north. Moss grows on the north side of dead trees, so if the Big Dipper is not visible, dead trees will guide them north.

Questions

  1. Why do you think it was known as the Underground Railroad??
  2. Why do you think runaways were called fugitives?
  3. What role did songs play in the Underground Railroad?
  4. What are some of the symbols in the song and what do they refer to?

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